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School Board: Vote for integrity and trustworthiness, not politics (opinion)


This joint op-ed was submitted by Washoe County School Board Trustee Andrew Caudill and Trustee-Elect Kurt Thigpen

The voters of Washoe County have some very important and difficult decisions to make when it comes to the school board this year. Most difficult will be who they choose to vote for the Washoe County School Board, District A seat.

Both of us, one as an incoming member of the school board, and the other as a current member have been asked by the community many times to weigh in on who to vote for after Scott Kelley’s resignation, and after the latest report around Mr. Kelley’s bad behavior, we both agree that neither of us can remain silent.

Scott Kelley admitted in court to using fake social media accounts. These accounts have been alleged to have harassed constituents, school district employees, and anyone else who disagreed with him openly on school board matters. They were even reportedly used in relation to his position at the Nevada Department of Corrections to harass the families of inmates that had passed away saying their family member’s death was “a good thing”. 

He also admittedly retaliated against a UNR professor by trying to get the professor in trouble with his Dean after a disagreement on social media.

This level of bullying and abuse of power of the office he held is unacceptable, and should not be tolerated or overlooked by the voters. Only the voters can keep him out of office, not the Trustees or the Superintendent.

Mr. Kelley’s return to the school board would signal to students and school district employees that this behavior is acceptable when it is not. His return would continue to be a distraction and overshadow the major issues that will come before the school board in 2021.

Even though we both fall on different points of the political spectrum (Kurt a Democrat, and Andrew a Republican), we agree that the work ahead of us will require integrity, teamwork, focus, finding common ground, and establishing a level of trust. 

We need these to be able to accomplish our goal of higher student achievement and equitable learning. These are qualities that we both feel Mr. Kelley does not bring to the table. We are putting the well-being of the school district above politics, and are asking the voters to do the same.

While we both have our disagreements with Jeff Church and how he has addressed issues with the school district in the past, he has reached out and shown a willingness to work together as a team, to find common ground, and work to negotiate moving forward. 

This election is about the future of our students and faculty, and we are encouraging voters to vote for Jeff Church on Nov. 3rd. If elected, we commit to working with him to help him be the best Trustee that he can be.

While we may each have our differences, and will certainly disagree on important issues, or have different political stances, we agree that we must work together to heal divisions and ensure public confidence in the Washoe County School Board.

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